Friday, August 05, 2005

The ICEmen Cometh

So in case you missed it last week, because for some strange reason the Department of Homeland Security did not seem especially anxious to make a big media production with balloons and dancing girls out of this particular news release. The department has recently decided that since Al Qaeda and their devil robots and fish ninja are such intractable foes, that instead of attempting to fight harder or smarter against them, they would simply go after easier prey.

Which is where we get this headline, which in the preceding context really speaks for itself: “Homeland Security nets more than 500 gang members.” That’s right, the department tasked with preventing another 9/11 or that horrible mushroom cloud announcing the arrival of Atomic Osama has decided their better energies are spent on rousting El Chuco and Lil’Joker and the rest of the homies sitting out behind the AM/PM sippin’ on 40s after midnight…

Here’s a bit more of the story from the Associated Press Report:

“Federal authorities arrested 582 alleged gang members over a two-week period, officials said Monday, targeting an estimated 80 violent groups they say have spawned street crimes across the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called the gangs "a threat to our homeland security and ... a very urgent law enforcement priority."

Investigators picked up most of the offenders between July 16 and July 28 on immigration violations for being in the United States illegally. Seventy-six face criminal charges, ranging from illegal possession of a firearm to holding fraudulent documents.

"For too long, these gangs have gone unchecked; flouting all laws and demonstrating a blatant disregard for public safety," Chertoff said in announcing the arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. ICE is an arm of the Homeland Security Department. “

Okay, I can hear the reflexively irate Redstaters already: “Holy Cats, Mojo, what could possibly be wrong with getting these violent thugs off the streets. You live in a fairly urban city, are you saying you want gangs to flourish?”

No, what I am saying is that the Department of Homeland Security-Related Kabuki Theater-Like Program Activities has absolutely no interest in solving this problem. For a bit of context, this follows on a conversation that Sean, Strychnine and I have been having for a very long time; this is pre-Mojowire rhetoric.

What is the big problem with gangs? Violence. How are they committing this violence? Guns. So from there, one could easily fire up that old vintage synapse-mobile and make the quick drive down the street to “therefore, the proliferation of small arms in the United States constitutes a threat to the national security.”

Whoa there Mojo, you say, that’s just crazy talk, that’s all liberal code ‘n stuff fer gun control… Well, if you want to look at it like that. Bur remember, your Second Amendment rights were never in danger, Redstate. Ever! This is about abrogation of those hippy afterthoughts in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

You see hippies, it breaks down like this. The Department of Homeland Whatever declares gangs to be a “threat to the national security.” There are several ways they can go about addressing this problem, and tackling the gun angle is only one avenue. Nervous yet Redstate? Good, this is your fault meshbacks!

But there are the Redstaters out there right now saying “that’s all good, as long as they go get the criminals in the cities instead of the my guns, then I’m jest fine…” Remember your Patriot Act, Redstate? If a gun that is in anyway even remotely connected to you gets used in some sort of anti-American Patriot Act related program activity, then you own it, brother.

And two points on this whole heartland rap. One, living in an urban area I can tell you that it is terrifyingly easy to end up in a large police department’s gang database. Hell, just having a certain address on your drivers license in some places gets you flagged. Two, look at some of the places that Chertoff’s Untouchables were hitting with their raids besides LA, New York and Chicago: Birmingham, Ala., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and North Platte, Neb. You got that? North Fscking Platte, Nebraska. What were they, freekin’ cattle rustlers?! For real Redstate, this is your heartland they are sending the jack booted thugs into.

So far, this operation, dubbed “Community Shield” (you gotta love that) has primarily been done under the auspices of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement guys, or the ICEmen as we like to call them. And while it doesn’t say specifically, when news stories talk about “local partners” of DHS, they are probably referring to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, local cops deputized to act as DHS thugs and enforcers. They have focused a lot of their attention on foreign nationals in gangs, like 18th Street and MS-13, which have strong ties to Central American gangs.

And this is a problem for us. Because what the Department of Homeland Security is telling us is that if you are a dirt poor Central American or Mexican kid, or even an American-born black or Asian kid who for whatever reason gets in with the wrong crowd and falls into La Vida Loca, then you are not merely a criminal, you are treasonous enemy of the United States and must be dealt with accordingly.

But all you pissed off middle-class white kids, go right ahead and keep shaving your heads, carving swastikas in various body parts, burning crosses and publicly calling for the overthrow of the United States government, that’s all good…

Does anyone else see a problem with this?

And that’s going to be something of the the acid test for you Redstate. The day those crew-cut 6th era Klan-Kids or Fourth Reich Hitler Youth or what-the-hell-ever they are calling themselves now, start to get rounded up, we promise that you are not far behind.

As for the rest of us? This is yet another example of how the Department of Homeland Political Correctness and the Department of Jesus-tice has lied once against concerning the use of the Patriot Act. All of DHS’ power flows from the Patriot Act and its attendant enabling legislation. So instead of keeping us safe from the threat of another terror attack brought about by cranky Islamic extremists or South American Maoists with Che Guevera fetishes or Old European Spider Murphy-style Bader Mienhoff Socialist-Anarchist fashion victims, Chertoff and the Untouchables have decided they would rather engage in domestic police work.

We got a little taste of this last summer when the ICEmen started cruising part of Southern California in vans rounding up “Mexicans” off the streets for simply looking like they needed work and running them through the grill with no due-process. It wasn’t until some brave patriots in Congress like Maxine Waters and Joe Baca went to Chertoff and asked him what in the name of the nine million hells did he think he was doing, did they back off, although with promises that they’d be back for more.

You might recall wireheads, that when this was all spooling up back in the heady days of 2002, we were concerned that creating a new law enforcement agency with virtually no public judicial oversight was not, strictly speaking, the American Way. But, as with the FBI’s political spying scandal (that has yet to be properly reported by the beltway media, we might add), we were initially told not to worry, their powers would only be used to prevent another massive terror attack, that everything was under control, that we were simply being paranoid, and that 9/11 changed everything.

Well, they were certainly right about that last part. because with the convenient excuse of 9/11, we now have a secret police, at once charged with keeping us safe from foreign evil-doers now engaged in one of the nation’s most pressing urban problems, gang violence, which they are not going to treat as a sociological phenomena, we guarantee you. They are going to look at our neighborhoods now as potential battlegrounds in their war on violent terrible extreme terror or whatever the hell it is we’re supposed to call it now.

By estimates given in the Reuters piece on the new operation, there were some 84,000 so-called criminal aliens removed from the United States in 2004, although we are not told anywhere what crimes they were charged with committing. Victor Ceara of DHS testified earlier this year that around 400,000 of these evildoers are still at large in the United States. They could be your neighbors. They could be right next you. Hey, what was that sound? Did you see that?

In may the Congress passed a “gang-busters” bill which essentially made a federal crime out of freedom of association. The bill imposes a minimum sentence ranging from 10 years to life for individuals convicted of gang-related program activities, and expanded the death penalties to gang members as young as 16-and 17-year-olds, trying them as adults.

And for those of you playing along at home, lets review the bidding on what exactly constitutes a gang related crime. For starters, associating with known gang members is a gang-related crime. Next, there is any criminal activity, in which a participant is a gang member or associated with gang members is a gang-related crime. So you can see the bar is set pretty low.

This comes from cities, especially a lot of smaller suburban and semi-rural cities, back in the 1990s trying to pad their Department of Justice grant applications by showing high incidents of gang activity, thereby opening the door to more federal money based on a perceived need, through Bill Clinton’s generally successful COPS program.

And now, using the infrastructure created largely by the Patiot Act and the permissive, “anything goes” atmosphere in federal law enforcement these days, some might think it easy to see why are a tad upset at this latest turn of events. Because, really, who is going to seriously complain that the federal government is cracking down on gangsters? Who would be that stoopid?

But remember, this is from the same group of people who just a few months ago equated environmentalist groups with criminal and terrorist sympathizers and said that the environmental movement “extremists” like Greenpeace were one of the worst threats that this nation faces right now.

So let’s connect all the dots and see what shape emerges. The FBI has been performing a secret spying operation on political dissidents and perceived internal political enemies of the President. The Patriot Act and administrative act empower a national series of “Joint Terrorism Task Forces.” Meanwhile, the hive brain at DHS charged with preventing terrorism come out and say that the biggest domestic terrorist threat are those tree-loving liberal hippies at Earth First and their enablers in Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, a neo-con sycophant of the White House with a thing for Presidential perogative is poised to make the Supreme Court a 6-3 pro-White House majority, while the Department of Homeland Security spools up a massive domestic law enforcement operation aimed at alleged-gang members, looking primarily to arrest, then deport them…

Where does this all go? We’ll just leave you with the words of a senior DHS official from the AP story regarding the department’s next move.

"We're just getting started," said ICE investigations chief Marc Forman

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